Engagement in teaching and learning activities is about the best we can hope for when planning our teaching and learning activities. Much has been written on whether or not we can actually teach someone something, or whether we can only create the conditions under which people can then learn something on their own. 

In my own experience, I follow the words of Paulo Freire who tells us that the responsibility of the educator is to create the conditions for critical engagement and learning. This means that we must provide the right environment in which our students can flourish. In my work with my own students as teacher trainees, I have worked with the Community of Inquiry Model which provides guidelines for the conditions we must create in order to foster learning. I have written about this model extensively in conjunction with my research.

My main focus when observing teachers in their classrooms is to determine if the students are engaged with the activities and the content. If they are, then the teacher is achieving his or her goals.

Scroll down to see the presentation

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 07:45

All you need is ... Teachers and Technology

Reading through the regular influx of emails and reports that I receive about Education, Technology and Development, I am struck by a couple of thoughts. One issue is that we have a shortage of teachers. According to the UN Global Education First Initiative report, 

"Globally, we need an additional 1.6 million teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015. The shortage of teachers, combined with absenteeism and the lack of qualifications, is a major barrier to learning. We need a strong cohort of both female and male teachers who are paid well and respected in their communities." - See more at: http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/219.htm#sthash.LCJxig27.dpuf

© UNESCO, Nicolas Axelrod

The report lists many other issues as well, not least of which is access to supportive technologies and ICT resources. There is a connection between this lack of teachers and the consequent lack of education among these various populations and some of the troubles we experience in parts of the world.

Infographic Quality Education for All Web 200

I also read a significant amount of reports about the use and growth of technology in Education. I am particularly interested in mobile technologies. One reason is that in many parts of the developing world, mobile connectivity is the only option. The UN Mobile Learning site tells us that, "Today over 6 billion people have access to a connected mobile device and for every one person who accesses the internet from a computer two do so from a mobile device." They also note that, "over 90 percent of the [world's] population is blanketed by a mobile network."

At many universities and colleges mobile technology is becoming more readily available to support all sorts of activities. I tweeted this podcast about using an app to support academic advising where the the college advisers could access student data much more quickly and thus have much greater time to actually counsel and not just compile. My point here is that if we are graduating new teachers who cannot manipulate these new tools properly and effectively to support their students, then we need to rethink what we are doing.

Saturday, 30 January 2016 12:24

Teaching Placement Supervision

One of the great privileges of supervising teaching placements is to actually to go to the placements. Here is a collection of placements I have visited from 2009 - 2015.

  Teaching Placements

Published in Galleries
Saturday, 31 January 2015 12:49

It Matters Who You Are

It Matters Who You Are

paul primary students
Who are you?

Kelchtermans (2009) argues that “It matters who the teacher is” (p. 258). This statement conveys the message that the teacher as a person is explicit and separable from the content being taught. The teacher is literally face-to-face with their students on a regular basis and often the content is entirely subjective, contextual and relational. Kelchtermans also argues that teachers face a range of personal considerations in their profession. These may include issues of self-esteem, the result of being in front of an audience every day and in effect being on stage performing for their students. The concept of “historicity” (p. 263) also weighs heavily on the teacher as a focus of who we are. The idea of the reflexive teacher as being aware of ourselves is very much the product of our history. It may also include our aspirations and influence our actions through the routes that we take to achieve various tasks. These routes also take on moral and political aspects when we consider how many decisions, large and small are made every day in the representation of information. In light of these myriad decisions at many levels of the moral spectrum, the idea of reflection as a conscious act on the part of the practitioner is brought into consideration.

3 spheres portfolio v2
Three Spheres of the Portfolio Approach

Kelchtermans (2009) states that,

“Critical and deep reflection further implies a contextualized approach in which the particularities of one’s working context are carefully taken into account, whilst also being fundamentally questioned. Reflection should aim at understanding one’s actions in the context of that particular school or institute, at that particular time, in that particular social, political and cultural environment” (p. 269).

The portfolio approach in the personal sphere can offer the practitioner the ability to achieve that degree of critical reflection. It allows the practitioner to put their ideas out for the world to see and to comment on. It provides the practitioner as starting point in the classroom from which to launch their daily comments and to keep track of their trains of thought over time. From the time span of discretion, as the practitioner develops a range of captured experiences in different contexts and time periods, they may become better able to present to their own students better examples of what may be acceptable responses to particular experiences. 

time span discretion
Time span of Discretion

In this way, many of the ideas in this investigation have first started as a post on my portfolio site. The ideas are discussed, reformulated, edited, discussed again, perhaps with a different class and then refined even further before they are added to the appropriate section of this research. By putting my ideas on full display to my students and anyone who cares to look, I am inviting what Kelchtermans (2009) describes as “discomforting dialogues” (p. 270) about my work. I am constantly yet pleasantly surprised by the interpretations that students and other colleagues attach to my work. As often as not, I am corrected or enlightened more so than my audience.


Kelchtermans, G. (2009). Who I am in how I teach is the message: Self-understanding, vulnerability and reflection. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(2), 257-272. Retrieved September 14, 2013, from http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&id=doi:10.1080/13540600902875332


Monday, 21 October 2013 15:52

EDT 2203 - TP - Visit Schedule

My Mentee Students

School MCT Visit 1 Visit 2
Nada Ahmed Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul  Monday, October 28  
Sumeya Khalid Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul  Monday, October 28  
Fatima Younis Al Garayain KG Paul    
Rawda Salim HBN School Paul  Tuesday, October 29  
Salama Saif HBN School Paul  Tuesday, October 29  

All students

Nada Ahmed Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul
Sumeya Khalid Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul
Fatima Younis Al Garayain KG Paul
Hajar Salim Bint al Shata Simon
Hessa Saeed Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon
Hessah Obaid Ahmed Bin Rashid Simon / Liz
Khawla Ali Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon
Mariam Salim Bint al Shata Simon
Rawda Salim HBN School Paul
Salama Saif HBN School Paul
Shaikha Khamis Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon
Published in EDT 2203
Sunday, 20 October 2013 15:16

EDT - 2203 - Week 7 - Showing your Stuff

This is your last week before you head out to your teaching practice. I am sure that Ms Liz has prepared you well for your experience. However, while out there, you will be observed by either me or Dr. Simon.

Nada Ahmed Sharjah Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul
Sumeya Khalid Sharjah Al Ramaqeia School Boys Paul
Fatima Younis Sharjah Al Garayain KG Paul
Hajar Salim UAQ Bint al Shata Simon
Hessa Saeed Ajman Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon
Hessah Obaid UAQ Ahmed Bin Rashid Simon / Liz
Khawla Ali Ajman Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon
Mariam Salim UAQ Bint al Shata Simon
Rawda Salim Sharjah HBN School Paul
Salama Saif Sharjah HBN School Paul
Shaikha Khamis Ajman Sheikah Bint Saeed Simon

We will also review your next assessment which is the Online presence assessment:

Within the context of your portfolio development for EDT 2003, you will prepare your media support tools to use in the portfolio showcase.

There are a profusion of tools available and you as educational technology experts need to be able to distinguish between them and recognize their strengths and benefits.

You will be responsible to incorporate a variety of information and media tools into your showcase portfolio. This will involve setting up accounts and then incorporating examples of your work from these accounts into the Mahara portfolio.

On each page of the showcase, you should include a description of the tool and how you will use it.


You will need to develop the following tools:

  • Journals
  • Document library
  • Communication tools appropriate for various audiences
  • Materials that can be used for T&L
  • Methods of showcasing your work and ideas.


The various tools need to be linked through the Mahara site. You will be assessed on the interface you have presented through the Mahara tool.

We will also review your discussion board entry for your next assessment. This will be due in week 10.

Published in EDT 2203
Sunday, 20 October 2013 19:16

EDUC 403 - Week 7 - Where you at?

This week it is essential that we finalize your TP locations. I am going to sit with each person and we will sort out where you are going and what you are doing. Then we will get Ms. Sharaaf to get your letters and what-not prepared.

Look at the SharePoint Placement list if you are still not clear what you want to do.

Notes from class:

403 practicum 2012

We will also take some time to review your next assignment. We did a short review before the break, but now you need to get busier!
Published in EDUC 403
Thursday, 03 October 2013 18:31

EDUC 403 - Week 5 - Justification

Your next task is to focus even more on your teaching practice location and decide on an actual place - school or otherwise.

Think about your relationship to your location, your partner and your future workplace.


Your next assignment is to write a justification of your selection.

  • Introduction that summarizes previous teaching practice experience
  • Discussion of preferences in teaching practice sites (can include age of students / career goals)
    • These first two sections are taken from your AI interview. You will need to review and summarize your AI interview and hopefully make it better.
  • General discussion of research expectations including styles of research / modes of data collection.
    • This section is very mich an overlap with your research methodology course. Discuss with Mr. Simon and determine what methodology (ies) you might use.
  • Focused discussion that synthesizes research preferences and teaching practice locations
  • Should discuss alternatives or second choices.
    • According to McNamee and Hosking (2012), “… relational constructionism invites us to direct our attention to the realities and relations constructed in the practice of any inquiry” (p. 42). Here you will need to discuss the 'realities' of your chosen school. How will these various factors impact on your research?
      • School Level (KG, Primary, Middle, High)
      • Size of school (e.g. do they have one, two or three math teachers for a particular grade?)
      • Willingness of administrators to veer from predetermined course / program
      • etc.

Hwere are a few more links that may help you to focus your research:




403 just notes

Published in EDUC 403